Customer Retention or Customer Acquisition for a B2B Marketplace
Attracting and then retaining customers is a key challenge for any B2B platform. B2B marketplaces are different, as they do not attract clients by simply focusing on cheaper services or products. You need to build long-lasting relationships both between the client and the marketplace as well as between buyers and sellers for an online marketplace to thrive in the long run.
While acquiring customers fast at the beginning is a dream development for most BtoB marketplaces, retaining buyers is a more challenging task as repeated customers tend to get more demanding. Furthermore, you need to convince buyers that they get a better service compared to traditional purchase models and this requires building trust and lasting relationships with your customers.
Engage Buyers to Keep Sellers on Your B2B Marketplace
Acquisition of suppliers and buyers is the easier part of your online B2B marketplace, once you have developed easy to use marketplace software, nice design and critical number of sellers and purchasers. The hard task is to keep buyers engaged on your platform and re-order goods, raw materials or services while actively looking for new suppliers and products.
Put emphasis on retaining buyers and then sellers will follow suit – there will always be supply on a marketplace full of frequent and reliable buyers. Make every effort to transform your B2B marketplace into a primary source for ordering supplies for your buyers and you will see the number of suppliers going up as a result. When demand is high, supply is high and this means that more sellers and buyers will stick your online business platform.
Retain Customers through Value Added Services offered by your marketplace solution
There are plenty of exhibitions and industry fairs where companies can make direct contact with suppliers. There are also a good number of B2B marketplaces where your prospective customers can order supply of materials or services they need.
It means that you need to stand out by offering additional products and services to both buyers and sellers to keep them busy trading on your platform. You can offer built-in market analytics tools or accounting software, or you can offer a complete logistics solution as an extra service. Some marketplaces go the extra mile to even offer trade and invoice financing to retain existing customers.
The more value-added services your marketplace is offering, the greater the chance a customer will choose your platform as their primary source of supply. They know that these value-added services are not really free but the option to have more services in one place makes customers happy.
Chase Bigger Customers to Boost Retention and Profits on your platform
Many B2B marketplaces start small and develop gradually, polishing and enhancing their product in the process. There is nothing wrong with this approach but going after big buyers and sellers from the very beginning gives you a more expansive perspective and opens the door for faster growth.
Sure, acquiring and retaining big customers requires a longer business cycle and more efforts but it pays off in the end through larger deals being finalized on your platform. Furthermore, the larger the buyer or supplier you have managed to keep on your marketplace, the lesser the chance of this customer leaving your online platform. Large customers need more time to build trust in your service and find their top business partners on your platform but the chance is they will stay there once this process is completed.
Many B2B marketplace owners make the mistake of trying to attract as many customers as they can when they start their service. Appealing to a broader audience is a good thing but you should bear in mind that when B2B deals are concerned you need to keep a critical number of active customers rather than have many inactive users or ones that make transactions occasionally and trade in low volumes.
Actually, your B2B marketplace can progress well with even a few very large buyers and sellers who are trading on a regular basis and make recurring purchases. Once you have managed to attract and retain a number of large-size customers, you can expand into new territories and markets, looking for a wider customer base.